Alex Prager Parties in Uncanny Valley
|Alex Prager, Holiday Party, 2020|
With hopes dim for L.A. museums to reopen during the normally busy holiday season, LACMA has announced an outdoor art installation by Alex Prager. Farewell, Work Holiday Parties (2020) is a sculptural tableaux of hyperreal figures, created with a special effects company, installed on Smidt Welcome Plaza. I don't have an image of the actual installation (expect them to fill your Instagram feed in a couple of days), but the figures are those in Prager's photograph Holiday Party, 2020.
LACMA is clearly banking on the populist appeal of an open-air office sitcom. But Prager's work has depths that the relatively jokey Holiday Party might not suggest. She is best known for photographic conversation pieces, the sitters being living actors in elaborate costumes or realistic mannequins. Prager works, roughly, in the vein of Pictures Generation artists who take photographs of things that are fake but look kind of real—and in the tradition of Duane Hanson and Madame Tussaud. Prager's running theme is the lonely crowd; she is the street photographer of Uncanny Valley. The effect is doubly poignant in a time in which crowds = contagion.
The LACMA installation is to run Nov. 21, 2020 to Jan. 3, 2021 and is free.
|Alex Prager, Crowd #10 (Imperial Theatre), 2013. LACMA, gift of Sheridan Brown|